The word “locavore” may sound like a fossil description, but because of this new word, a new club will meet regularly on campus starting this week.
“Locavore” is used to describe people who eat mostly locally produced foods in an effort to support regional food economies and live healthy lifestyles.
According to their mission statement, the ACU Locavore Club wants “to promote the health, environmental, social and spiritual benefits of locally grown food, and to participate in sustainable, small-scale agricultural systems.”
Matthew Hale, senior communication major from Uvalde, and Evelyn Henshaw, senior communication major from San Diego, Calif., are two of the students organizing and leading the new club. Both Hale and Henshaw became interested in local eating last spring after taking a health communication class taught by assistant professor of communication and Locavore Club sponsor, Dr. Jonathan Camp.
During the past semester, the class focused specifically on communication around the slow food movement, said Camp.
Now Hale and Henshaw want to educate other students on the information they learned about the food industries and the benefits of eating locally.
Since the spring, Hale has started a small sustainable garden and tries to eat at least three completely locally-produced meals a week.
“How I go about buying food and preparing food is completely different,” said Hale.
Along with the information presented in Camp’s class, Hale and Henshaw participated in a few Weston A. Price Foundation meetings.
“The foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism,” according to westonaprice.org.
The Abilene chapter meets once a month and teaches concrete ways to practice local eating, such as making homemade sauerkraut.
“I think that caught Matthew and I’s interest a lot,” said Henshaw. “Especially as college students, we want things fast. But you can actually get natural, local ingredients, and cook them slow and in a better way.”
The ACU Locavore Club hopes to present practical ways to learn about local eating within club meetings as well as ways students can support the local food economy on their own. Hale said teaching methods will provide the information that is necessary for someone to choose to begin and maintain the locavore lifestyle
“It’s like the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to make that choice between, ‘do I want to eat that snickers bar or a nice zucchini salad,'” he said.
Another club goal is to eventually support a community garden on campus. Hale and other club leaders are meeting this week with administration to discuss this possibility.
We have to work some of those details out,” said Camp. “What we know is that we want it to be a multi-purpose space.”
Underlying all of the club’s goals is the belief that food is more than just food.
“It’s mainly about food, but then the rest follows,” Henshaw said
Hale believes that eating healthy from the local economy not only improves one’s health but strengthens community relationships between consumer and producer while fulfilling God’s call of stewardship.
“It ties into what God says about being good stewards,” Hale said. “When you’re taking care of your temple, that glorifies God.”
The club’s first meeting is at seven p.m. on Thursday in Sherrod Building, room 216.